Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Covid Gardens—Flowers and Poetry for our Times


My cousin, Janet, sent me this poem “Covid Gardens” by Claudia Castro Luna and said that it reminded her of my mason jar bouquets. The combination of the vibrant bouquets of summer in contrast to what we experienced this week lifted my spirit.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore flowers, textures, and colors. I love growing all kinds of flowers, just so I can create colorful, messy, texture-filled, wild bouquets for friends, colleagues, and students. I love bringing bouquets to classes. I love bringing to meetings. I love gifting people these bouquets. Yes, I hope to create beauty. Just as much, these bouquets and gifting them brighten my own spirit.

Mason jar bouquet from the garden.

Georgia O’Keeffe wrote, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to somebody else.” I use mason jars, which I buy by the flat, so nobody need worry about returning the vase. Here are some worlds for the moment.

In light of all that happened this week—horrifying and heartbreaking—when I received this poem about bouquets, the thought occurred to me that perhaps a bit of beauty and poetry might be balms for our hurting hearts. When I shared the photo below of my new journal and stickers (gifts from my brother, Bo, and his wife, Lisa) on FB and Instagram, independently people commented, “After yesterday’s trauma, this looks like good medicine,” and “Nice reprieve from the chaos of politics. Thank you. As we think, so we are.”

Those thoughts inspired me to share a bit of beauty and this poem.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil writes of the challenges of the past months and the transcendent qualities of poetry:

I wish I could tell you that this bird reverie carried me upward and onward through this most difficult of months. Not so. The reality and grief over missing my beloved students—I never got to say goodbye in person as classes were moved online over spring break a couple of weeks ago—and all the scary news of the spread of the virus and a thousand other worries for our planet and its inhabitants have kept me awake, in a state of alarm, and when I sleep—it is not sound.

But I believe in poetry. I believe it can elevate you for even just a brief moment—not to forget the horror surrounding us (it’s there, it’s there. I can’t pretend it’s not)—but it can alter how we see the world, how we see each other. I have faith that we will be able to touch each other and break bread together at the same table again soon. Maybe not as soon as I’d like, but soon. At least that is what I tell my sons. And when that day comes, how lucky to find ourselves attached to the rest of the world once again! (Orion Magazine, April 1, 2020 https://orionmagazine.org/2020/04/national-poetry-month-2020-2/#.X_iyUFaV4bc.twitter)

I invite you to sink into the portrait painted through words created here by Castro Luna.

“Garden gifts making for rich tables in slim times — mine, plentiful with print an flowers…” When I read this poem, I felt my breathing deepen and my pulse slow. (Which is actually halfway dangerous, considering how low my pulse and blood pressure already are. When nurses take my pulse, their first question is often, “Is this normal? This is usually when we hospitalize people.” I just say, “Genetics and running.” My dad and I have a competition to see who can get their pulse and blood pressure the lowest.” I call Daddy after an appointment to say, “80 over 40 — top THAT!” We have all kinds of visualization strategies. None of which I admit in public.)

We will get beyond the troubled landscapes of this time. Gardens will bloom again. I look forward to walking into my garden this summer and cutting flowers to create messy, wild, wonderful bouquets to gift. These thoughts buoy my spirit and cast light.

Speaking of casting light and gardens blooming once again, I received this candle as a gift from my friend, Barb. Little did she know that the same piece of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, embroidered by my grandmother, hangs in the hallway.

I lit the candle this morning during my time of candlelit solitude and sanctuary. Wishing you sanctuary and thoughts of blooming gardens, exuberant with color and life.

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

19 thoughts on “Covid Gardens—Flowers and Poetry for our Times

  1. Reblogged this on God in the World and commented:
    This beautiful writing is reposted with the permission of Dawn Wink.

  2. Dear Dawn, Thank you again and again for sharing the beauty of the flowers, the painting, the poetry, Sunflowers, your oh-so-meaningful and calming words. This piece is like a balm in these troubled times…a “bridge over troubled waters.” You make my heart sing, and I am basking in the glory of it all. So very appreciated!

    Much love, beautiful little flower! Rhoda

    • Dear Rhoda, thank you so very much for connecting! I so look forward to your thoughts. So very glad that you enjoyed the flowers and spirit of the piece. So deeply grateful to share with you!

      Much love to you,

  3. I agree with Lindy Barnes. This post brings tears to my eyes. I could write an essay in response to this post alone. LOL You are already aware that I am verbose however.

    I want to try and summarize however the messages you didn’t know you sent me in this writing of YOURS:

    My grandmothers send love from their flower gardens in heaven. For they want me to remember the flowers they planted on earth. My cousins and me have had gardens of our own, though no one’s could match my Grandma and Grandpa Poplins garden of Eden flower gardens or vegetable gardens. That same Van Gogh print hung on my mother’s wall all of my life until about 7 years ago. I miss its presence there.

    Bless you dear gardening friend and person who delights our hearts and souls.

    Peace and Flowers,

    • Dear Robin,

      Oh, to be with you in your grandmothers’ gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens. Thank you ever so much for sharing this beauty and love. I can just feel the essence of deep beauty through your words.

      And the same Van Gogh Sunflowers—I will look at my own embroidered by my grandmother with new eyes and think of your own piece hung on your mother’s wall. Thank you so much for this.

      I am so very grateful for our connection, Robin and look forward to sharing upcoming delights of hearts and souls.

      Peace and Flowers (I love this),

  4. Your heart is like a beautiful bouquet.

  5. Beauty begets beauty. A beautiful person creates beauty in her life and shares it with others. You are that beautiful person, Dawn. Thank you for sharing this beauty.

  6. You, the poem, the pictures… the colors, the flowers, the sharing… lovely in every way. Thank you, dear Dawn.

  7. A beautiful candle for a beautiful person!
    Hugs, Barb

  8. I love your mason jar bouquets.

  9. Thank you, sweet friend, for reminding me that even as I look out at the mist, the bare trees, the barren garden, all that I need to do now is plant the seeds.

  10. Yes! Thank you, Dawn for helping us step back in this winter of discontent and worry to revisit the simple beauties and warmth of summer, nature, and the kindness of human sharing – all of which are more abundant, powerful, and healing than the ugly chatter clammoring for our attention right now.

    • Hi, Patty! Oh, so grateful to know that this piece resonated and brought some of the beauty and warmth of summer to you. Thanks so much for taking the time to connect. Here’s to healing and kindness!

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